WE MUST NOT TURN VETTING INTO WITCH-HUNT OF THOSE VETTED

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Joe Osei Owusu, chairman of Parliament's Appointment Committee

The ongoing vetting of Ministers-designate is throwing up political dusts never witnessed even in the days when the nation was waking up from the stupor imposed on it by a new political breed made up of a quasi-military politburo.

The system we had put in place by practice and convention was one of competence on the part of appointees and consensus on the part of the Appointment Committee and other actors who decided whether or not the person being vetted could do the job and add value to the vision of the Executive and wellbeing of the nation.

Trend

Since 1992, or better still 1996 – because 1992 was virtually one-party Parliament – prospective appointees had to satisfy, largely, the demands of patriotism and competence.

As far as the records would indicate, it was only in a few instances, like that of former Trade Minister Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, that a question about choice between loyalty and professionalism caused some stir, resulting in a shelving of the appointment and consequent denial of the Minister-designate the position he had been pencilled for.

Largely, however, the trend had been the same until this National Democratic Congress ‘Kyem Fa’ philosophy and advocacy, following the declaration of the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.

It appears that what initially started as a persecution of the Electoral Commissioner by the flagbearer of the NDC and its campaign and communication wings would be turning into an inquisition as one candidate for a position had to be grilled for almost five hours. And stridently, those who were pushing that agenda happened to be the Minority in Parliament.

For those who are passive observers but familiar, all the same, with the practices and convention, the emerging trend only points at a perpetrating of the now open agenda  on the part of the leading opposition party to muddy the processes for political profit.

Unfortunately, the NDC actors appear to be repeating the kind of treatment meted out to Otiko Afisa Djaba, which almost saw her being iced by the Committee based on the intrusion of other forces within the opposition NDC.

That is why it becomes compelling on our part to signal the Chairman of the Appointment Committee to stamp his authority and ensure that the Committee sticks to the rules in conducting its business of vetting and not wading into the spheres of an inquisition.

It is, therefore, imperative for the Committee at this time to moderate its processes and modes of questioning to elicit the best of the interviewee in the interest of Ghana since a nominee’s performance in the position for which he or she is being vetted is key.

Of course, we understand that there are more explanations to be made. That, however, should not be an excuse to reduce the platform to an inquisition, particularly since citizens are, above other considerations, keen at competence, performance and credibility of prospective applicants.

 

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